We all know the holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of pressure to eat, drink and be merry. Like many writers, I’m an introvert so I find the merry part particularly taxing. And being a diabetic I have to watch the eating and drinking.

Over the years, I’ve come up with a few coping strategies to get me through and thought I’d share them with you.

  • Be kind to yourself. Okay, when people say things like that I want to punch them in the mouth so let me expand on exactly what I mean. Buy yourself something expensive. A cashmere sweater, a full-body massage or if you’re broke settle for a foot massage. But treat yourself to something you ordinarily wouldn’t do and make it all about you. Because if you’re anything like me you’re going to spend most of the holidays trying to make everyone else happy.
  • Stockpile books you really want to read and read them. Despite all the revelry, the holidays can be a lonely time for many. But you’re never alone with a good book.
  • Embrace the mocktail. They’re delicious and a great prop at parties when you want to fit in but don’t want to over drink or drink, period. Simply tell the bartender or host I’ll have a Margarita, hold the Tequila.
  • Don’t deprive yourself of the good stuff but think sampler plate. A little bit of everything but just enough for a taste. After years of working as a food writer I’ve learned that things actually taste better that way.
  • Make time to do something special with your closest friends. Whether it’s a fancy tea or pizza at someone’s house these are your besties who have your back and the people who let you grouse about your in-laws. Lean on them and let them lean on you.
  • Start your shopping early and look for deals. Every time I’ve waited until the last minute, desperation sinks in and I wind up spending way more money than I intended.
  • Budget and stick to it! Or else you’ll wind up like me and still be paying for Christmas 2005.
  • Put your computer and the internet to work. Traffic, scarce parking and crowded malls make me extremely Grinchy and suck the joy right out of the holidays. So grab yourself a hot drink, put on your flannel PJs and let your fingers doing the shopping. This might be a good time to plop down a little cash on Amazon Prime, just saying.
  • Someone, somewhere, can use a friend right now and who knows maybe you’ll make one in return.
  • Book a solo trip to Puerto Vallarta and say, feliz navidad, but I’m out of here until the new year. If you try that tell me how it works out. I’d be interested to know . . . uh, for a friend.

 

She wants to leave Nugget behind, he’s just made it his home. Sometimes love is worth throwing plans—and caution—to the wind. . .

Raylene Rosser is Nugget’s most infamous prodigal daughter. The townspeople aren’t exactly holding a welcome home parade when she returns, but that’s okay with Raylene—she’s only here to make amends for selfish mistakes, sell her property, and get out of town asap after her half-brother Logan’s wedding. Picturesque Nugget is her past, and Raylene is determined to build a future . . .

All of which would be easier if Logan hadn’t asked his business partner to keep an eye on her. A security specialist, Gabe Moretti certainly knows how to shadow a girl—and how to boss said girl around. It would be infuriating, if only Raylene could keep her eyes off Gabe’s broad chest, rugged profile, and sexy smile. Falling in love might not be the safe choice, but sometimes everyone needs to tempt fate . . .

Praise For Stacy Finz

“Sweet humor, well-defined and appealing characters, and just enough adventure sports and fashion detail make Finz’s print debut, and series launch, a delightful read.” —Library Journal on Need You